Towards Social Justice and Development

Social justice and development: Women farmers in Rwanda
growing seedlings.

ACORD joins the world in commemorating Social Justice Day this 20th February 2012! Defending rights and promoting justice has being central to ACORD's work across Africa for the last 35 years. ACORD works in common cause with people who are poor and those who have been denied their rights to obtain social justice and development and be part of locally rooted citizen's movements.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 20th February as World Day of Social Justice in 2007, inviting Member States to devote the day to promoting national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the twenty-fourth session of the General Assembly. Observance of World Day of Social Justice should support efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all.

"Let us work together to balance the global economy and build a new social contract for the 21st century. Let us chart a development path that leads to greater social justice and the future we want", this was a statement concerning social justice by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Social justice is understood as the creation of just relationships at all system levels, the development of structures that provide for equality of opportunity, the facilitation of access to needed information, services and resources and the support of meaningful participation in decision-making for all people. ACORD joins the world in celebrating the Social Justice Day.

ACORD's response to the challenges of Africa and especially social justice is informed by a belief that people themselves are the primary agents of change and actors of their own development. People's ability to take action and reclaim ownership of the development process and claim their right is what will transform Africa.This belief reinforces ACORD's methodology that combines practical work at grass-roots level and capacity building, research and advocacy at national and continental levels. ACORD works towards the empowerment of the most affected communities themselves to understand, challenge and change conditions causing social injustice and denial of rights that are reinforced by the dynamic of globalisation.

Social Peace, Justice and Development

ACORD's current peacebuilding work in Sotik and Borabu following the 2007 Post election violence includes the introduction of a 'Community Social Peace and Recovery' model, which ACORD first elaborated during work in Burundi following the civil war there. There are three parts to the methodology:

  • dialogue process
  • agreement of a 'social contract' which is a community level peace accord
  • peace and recovery projects jointly designed and implemented by the communities to cement the accord

Through this model peace has slowly but steadily been renewed between the two communities.

Let us make 2012 the year for social justice!